There is change in the air, a feeling that things will improve in Nigeria, a feeling that things will become better forever. A
popular idealism laced with hard-eyed pragmatism, like the One-Man- One-Vote campaign
will usher us into 2011 elections.
I believe we are all stakeholders in the Nigeria project for we have no other
country to call our own – at least for me. A lot begs to be done and we need to
set the ball rolling in deciding our collective destiny come 2011.
The success of next year’s elections ought to be our primary responsibility as citizens of
this great country to make sure credible persons get elected to the various
positions. This is a time to act so that people we want get to the corridors of power for us to enjoy the full dividend of
democracy. Voting is a given right that any citizen of a true democracy
has the privilege to possess. We have to express our love for our own democracy
through the simple process of registering to vote and following up by actually
Democracy is a political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people. The simplest
form of democratic participation is voting. Voting is the most formal act of
political participation, but not the exclusive form of citizen involvement in
political system. Everybody needs to wake up and take action real fast to
jump-start the process of good governance and healthy electoral process for
sustainable development in all sectors. It is high time we caught up with our
counterparts in the global village.
We need to act more and talk less, to achieve this one-man-one-vote yearning. It is realizable if we sensitize everybody around us on the importance of
registering during the next voters’ registration. Send text messages as
reminder to every body on your phone contact. We all know what happened
recently in Zimbabwe when the price of bread was unnecessarily increased,
someone started a text message and appealed to the receiver to send to as many
people as possible before you can say hey the text message went all around the
country and they all peacefully stayed at home and the price was reversed.
Internet is another medium where we can propagate this message. Emailing is
quite cheap and I think N150 is not too much to be spent on our country Nigeria
to have a better future, send emails to friends, use vanguard online and all
online newspaper forums, facebook, twitter, other internet forums, etc (did you people follow
the Obama campaign? Did you see the power of the internet? How all the youths
of America were mobilized to campaign for Obama and to raise fund for his election?).
Internet is the fastest and easiest way to pass on information; I oblige you therefore to take advantage of it. Phone calls, for those with money: newspaper adverts,
even our local town crier methods in our villages would go a long way too. Do everything
possible to advertise the voter’s registration proposed to hold between January 8 and 22 next year. Secondly,
Take note of the dates for Voters Registration as announced by INEC, Locate
your preferred Voting centre (in your village, where you live or anywhere
that would be most convenient during election period). Carry your camera phone,
digital camera, camera, Camcorder, etc and snap / video as much as you can of
the entire Voters Registration process. In doing this do not compromise your
safety in any way. Dead people do not defend their democracy only the living
Present your pictures / videos as evidence in case of violation of the Voters Registration process to INEC making sure you capture the culprits,
landmarks of the venue, name tags, and any information that would be valuable.
Keep your voters card like you will keep your driver’s license, national
identity card or Credit/Debit Cards.
Select to vote by examining each candidate; their programs and their
profiles and how they could impact your future and that of your children. Are
the candidates educated or glorified thugs? If candidates are previous office holders, what
was their general conduct? Are they
looters and embezzlers? Are they Visionary? Hardworking? Selfless? Are
they change agents and or do they have capacity to see far enough to spur
development in your area? Are they spending looted money? Or are they spending
resources earned as hardworking individuals and from goodwill of people who
believe in them? Are they your best products in the community for such a
position? Can they be in your first eleven in terms of Integrity, Vision,
Courage and Selflessness and Service?
Ginger your swagger by voting, have a say on who represents you in government next year. We all ought to Vote on Election Day because it is our
civic responsibility. In as much as it is our collective duty to put some
checks and balances on our leaders by way of constructive criticism and
occasional bashing, I feel we ought to use the Election Day to choose rightly
and save ourselves the troubles of bad leadership. I therefore crave your
indulgence to be physically present at your Polling
Centre with your voter’s card for accreditation; wait and queue to Vote
for each of our preferred candidate; vote and ensure no voting by proxy and
also do not go home after voting. Stay to ensure that your vote is counted at
your voting centre and announced; write the figures down. In case of no
election materials or denial to Vote; put your camera/phone into action but do
this discretely by putting your safety first.
Protection of our vote is the most crucial way of ensuring that one-man-one vote campaign
works in the next general election for the attainment of good governance in
this country. We are familiar that the intrigues and antics of
election actually start far from the Election Day itself. As a matter of fact,
it starts within the Political Parties as they organize their primaries to
elect; select; zone; beg; de-zone; de-register; ban; outspend;
intimidate; threaten; impose; god father; rig; kill; hijack and kidnap
their way into being Party flag bearers. An ordinary Nigerian may have no power
in these except one is a muscled card carrying member of a Party or better
still if you are a man of patience and divine favour is upon you.
It is imperative for all of us to guard our votes jealously by not allowing these: multiple
voting; thugs to snatch the ballot box; anyone to stuff the ballot box; insist
on the right process at the polling stations. Remember once again to go to the
polling boot on Election Day with your camera phone, digital camera, camera,
camcorder, recorder, etc. Snap and take video as much as you can of the entire
voting process making sure you capture any information that could be valuable. Take
pictures and videos including that of the conduct of the Police, Party
Agents, Observers, INEC officials, thugs, politicians, etc. Remember to do this
under safe condition.
In case of electoral fraud or misconduct make your pictures / videos available to the Courts, Television Houses, Newspaper
Houses. Upload the information to the internet – vanguard online or other
Nigerian online newspapers, Youtube, NigeriaVillagesquare, Sahara reporters,
M-reporters, CNN i-reporters, facebook, twitter, etc or share with /
contact anyone anywhere that can make a difference in the pursuit of justice.
Total commitment to good governance, electoral reform and the fight against Corruption would only happen if and only if our vote
counts. It is of my opinion that people be made to see the purpose of good
governance and how best to enshrine standards in our democratic practice. We
all desire a form of government in which supreme power is vested on the people
and that the era where a group of people would appoint certain individuals into
elective offices in the name of election should be fought against because
Nigeria belongs to all of us equally.
We must work towards ensuring that nobody is denied a decent existence for any reason. There is a world of good to be
gained from free and fair election, Nigeria is well endowed with resources and
we have no business passing through avoidable stress and hardship. Let us all
forget our differences and come together in peace, love and unity to work
towards ensuring that our votes count come 2011 election. You know by this
alone Nigeria would have branded itself to a very large extent without spending
billions of Naira that can be channeled into provision of stable electricity. Please
let us start now to work towards a better future so that our children and grand
children would be proud of us.